Air source heat pumps are external units and must be placed outside in order to extract outside air.
Space must be given around heat pump units to ensure that there’s always adequate airflow for heat extraction.
These units can be relatively large depending on the size of property, and space can often be limited, especially down the sides of houses where air source heat pumps are often installed, so can air source heat pumps be wall mounted to help save on floor space?
Certain models of air source heat pumps can be wall mounted if the airflow through the unit isn’t affected and the installation is in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines. A wall mounting bracket can typically be used to put a heat pump on an external wall.
Our own air source heat pump is installed on the ground and not mounted on the wall.
It’s a relatively large heat pump unit that serves our 5-bedroom house and so placement on the ground makes it easier for maintenance access and servicing.
We discuss further in this article more about when an air source heat pumps can be installed on a wall and what things you need to take into account before doing so.
The positioning of an air source heat pump is essential for efficient and effective operation. Placement of an air source heat pump should always be in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines, whether it be on the ground or mounted on the wall.
Ultimately, which model of air source heat pump is to be used, and its size, along with its placement either on a wall or the ground, will be decided by an installer and any guidelines and regulations they need to follow, and any installation-specific requirements.
Our air source heat pump (ASHP) is required to be installed on the ground and in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines.
These guidelines include:
- Avoiding direct sunlight.
- Keeping the unit away from neighbors in terms of noise disturbance.
- Ensuring easy wiring and pipe access.
- Avoiding windy locations where possible, but if required not to place the air outlet in the direct of the wind.
See our article on air source heat pump installation requirements for more information.
Our ASHP is installed down the side of our house in line with these requirements.
This heat pump is also installed securely on the ground in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines and bolted down to concrete slabs.
Our air source heat pump therefore can’t be installed on a wall, but this won’t the case for all units.
Depending on the type of heat pump (air to water or air to air) a manufacturer and/or installer may require the external heat pump unit to be mounted on a wall.
Our ASHP is the air to water type (used for our central heating and domestic hot water) and is required to be installed on the ground.
Air to air heat pump units may have different installation requirements to ours because they are often used with ducts to transfer warm air around a home, which may be located at a higher level than ground level. See our article comparing air to air and air to water heat pump units for more information.
While our ASHP is located on the ground, we have an air conditioning unit that’s mounted on a wall.
If an air source heat pump is to be mounted on a wall, there are a number of factors that will need to be accounted for.
Air source heat pumps should be installed next to your house or as close as possible.
Mounting an ASHP on an external wall can help to minimize the pipeline length needed to connect the unit to your house. Less piping means that it can be less expensive to install, and heat can be retained as much as possible.
Air source heat pumps can also be relatively noisy during operation.
If an ASHP is installed off the ground, then noise may be able to travel a further distance over any fences and potentially cause more disturbances to neighbors.
See our guide on air source heat pump noise for more information including a video of what our heat pump sounds like.
Air source heat pumps will also need space around them for maintenance and servicing, with the latter often being conducted annually.
If an ASHP is placed off the ground too high, then it can hinder access for such servicing requirements. See our articles on air source heat pump servicing and air source heat pump maintenance requirements for more information.
Air source heat pumps work by moving heat energy from one place to another; in this case, they would move heat stored in outside air to be released outdoors for heating, and vice versa for cooling.
In order for an air source heat pump to work effectively you’ll need to have the pump in an open area.
While it might be tempting to cover up the pump with a tarp or place it in its own little shed or enclosed area, this can drastically reduce a heat pump’s effectiveness.
For wall mounted air source heat pumps, ensuring that the unit is set back from the wall is essential for maximizing airflow and therefore productivity.
Our air source heat pump, although not wall mounted, is still set back from the external wall of our home for access and pipework purposes.
See our article on air source heat pump space requirements for more information.
Even through certain models of air source heat pumps can be wall mounted, there are still more pros than cons for having a ground-level installed air source heat pump as discussed below.
An air source heat pump installed at ground level can be much easier to get to for maintenance and servicing.
You also won’t need to worry about the process of suspending or having proper mounts for the wall. Instead, it can just sit outside of your house and won’t have the risk of falling off the mounts.
Additionally, a ground-level air source heat pump can require slightly less pipework to fit into the wall than a wall-mounted pump would.
Finally, having the pump on the ground ensures that there aren’t as many vibrations from the pump affecting the house.
While you should place the pump inside of a place where people won’t be bothered by it, if you have to put it outside a bedroom or a family room, having it on the ground can reduce some of the sounds that come from it.
A downside of having a ground-level heat pump can depend on your local climate.
If you experience heavy snowfall, you might have to shovel the ground-level pump out to ensure that it can work effectively for you during the winter and isn’t packed and covered up with snow.
The manual to our heat pump states that the unit should be installed away from predicted snow areas, or can installed at a higher level to account for it.
Air source heat pumps are typically installed directly onto the ground for a number of reasons such as ease of access, space of pipework and helping to reduce noise and vibration.
However, certain models of air source heat pump can be mounted on a wall if required by, or allowed by, the manufacturer.
Installing the external heat pump unit on a wall can be more beneficial in areas of heavy snowfall where the snow would affect its performance, or where floor space is extremely limited.
An installer will choose the right type of air source heat pump and installation location for your particular situation.